Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Nap time decorating :)

Before D took his nap today, I told him we had a special visitor coming to spend the holidays with us. This is what he will wake up to :)

Super easy- construction paper, scissors, double-sided tape, scarf, magnets, and a few safety pins to keep the scarf from separating.

Much nicer to look at than the usually cluttered surface of our ancient fridge!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Up-cycled storage

Feeling crafty this morning, and always needing more toy storage, here's what I came up with...
Wipey box turned toy bin. Quick, cheap and pretty cute, I think.

Friday, October 21, 2011

What's cooking tonight!

- 1 Tbsp. veggie oil
- onion, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, diced
- 1, 4 oz can diced jalepenos
- 1, 4 oz can chopped green chiles
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. ground cayenne
- 2, 14.5 oz cans chicken broth
- 3 cups cooked boneless chicken breast, chopped
- 3, 15 oz cans white beans (white kidneys, cannelloni, chickpeas, etc) drained
- 1 cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese (more is OK, too)
Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium-low heat.
Add onion, cook until tender, stirring occasionally.
Mix in garlic, jalepenos, chiles, cumin, oregano and cayenne.
Cook, stirring, until tender (3 min or so)
Mix in broth, chicken and beans.
Simmer 15 min, stirring as needed.
Remove from heat.
Slowly stir in the cheese until melted.
Serve warm, with a crusty bread or corn bread.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Now Taking Orders!

   I'm a big fan of supporting local businesses, crafters and artists. Their products are made with talent and love. The same certainly can't be said of some machine in a factory somewhere, programmed to make whatever mass-produced crap it was intended to. My sister is also a supporter of this cause, and gave me a good idea. 
   In thinking about the holiday shopping season soon to be upon us, she said she might have to commission me to make some gifts for some lucky recipients on her list. And I got to thinking, why not see if anyone else is interested as well? On my blog are several examples of the things I have made in the past. There are also quite a few items I haven't posted about, but I will work on getting some of those photos up as well. One of my favorite things to make, and give as gifts, are the hobo totes. Every time I do, I have someone else ask me if I would make one for them, as well. 
   Long story somewhat shortened, I am now taking orders. Give a heartfelt, quality, handmade gift to someone you love- Or to yourself :)  Check out the "Past Projects" page, as well as any of the other posts to see what I can do. If you have something else in mind that I haven't posted about, just ask. 
  Here are some ideas and prices:
  • Hobo tote (large) - $35/ $30 (medium)/ $25 (small)
  • Baby girl dress/toddler tunic - $20
  • Baby girl skirt - $15/ Toddler skirt - $20
  • Burp-clothes - $15/two large-sized
  • Table cloth - $20 (small)/ $25 (medium)/ $30 (large)
  • Table runner - $15 (small)/ $20 (large)
  • Place mats - $30/set of 4
  • Cloth napkins - $20/set of 4
  • Grocery bag holder - $15
  • Throw pillow - $15
  • Pinwheel pillow - $20
  • Curtains or drapes  - depends on the size of the window 
*When you contact me about placing an order, we will discuss what colors/styles/patterns you are interested in. I can then send you photos of fabric options.
*I also refinish and repurpose furniture and other items (lamps, etc). If you have an item that needs some new life breathed into it and aren't sure where to start, I'd be happy to help.
***With any of the above listed sewn products, prices may be negotiable if you supply fabric you would like me to use***

Friday, October 7, 2011


   I just ordered my iphone 4s, at the "upgrade" price because I was patient enough not to jump at the iphone 4, when I first became eligible. I wanted to share this with any of you who may be thinking about buying one, because some requirements have changed. 
   This info applies to AT&T customers, and I am not sure if any of these changes have occurred with other carriers, as well. If you are new to AT&T, or this is the first time you are buying a smart phone,  then this info doesn't really apply to you, either. However, if you already have an iphone (or other smart device) and are attempting to buy the 4s online, you will see a message saying your data plan is no longer sufficient and AT&T is trying to replace it with a comparable one. My old iphone plan had an unlimited data plan, which is no longer an option. If you also currently have an unlimited data plan, DON'T BUY YOUR 4S ONLINE. CALL AT&T to purchase it! 
   The existing customers who already have an unlimited data plan are going to be "grandfathered" in to their new plans, and are able to keep their data unlimited, for the current price they're paying. If you buy your phone online, your unlimited plan will be removed when you choose the new option, and you will NOT be able to get it back. If you call AT&T and order through a representative, they will make a note of this in your file, as well as send you a confirmation email, that you are still going to receive UNLIMITED data with your plan (make sure you ask your customer service rep. to specifically mention the data plan in your post-call email).
    You will have to call AT&T to activate your phone when you receive it, and mention the unlimited data plan you are eligible for, as a previous customer. As I said, there will be a note in your file, and also an email to help you prove you deserve to be on the unlimited data, once again. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

How I Got Crafty This Weekend

Once again, I decided to make a baby girl's skirt, that certainly isn't going to be worn by any little person in my house. Maybe I'm just stock-piling these adorable duds in the hopes that one day I do have a daughter to play dress up with : )

What's Cooking Tonight...yum!

Grannie's Potato Soup

  • 1 pound of bacon, cut into small chunks, 1/2" wide
  • 3 large Russett potatoes, cut into 1/2 " cubes (skin on or off)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups milk
  • salt, pepper and garlic powder (to taste)
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 2 green onions, finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

In a large skillet, fry the bacon until it's very crisp. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and place a few tsps. of the grease in the bottom of a large, stock pot. Reserve the rest of the grease to add small amounts back if needed during the next step.
 In the stock pot, saute half of the potato cubes until they are starting to soften. Add the onion and saute about 2 minutes until they start to soften. Finally add the remaining potato cubes and continue cooking until they are starting to soften. By then the first batch of potato should be starting to brown lightly. Cooking the potatoes in two stages is called "layering" and results in some very soft and some moderately soft, so the soup has texture.
 Sprinkle the flour over the onions and potatoes and stir it in a but to get all the flour moistened with the bacon fat. Add a bit of additional fat if needed. Allow the flour to cook for a minute or so to cook off the flour taste but don't cook it until it starts to darken. Add the chicken stock and stir gently to mix. As the stock heats it will start to thicken from the flour and some of the potato. Let simmer for 15 min. Add milk in 1/2 cup increments to keep the mixture soupy, and continue to simmer another 10-15 min.
 Adjust the seasoning to taste with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Add in the half & half to adjust to a thin, creamy consistency.  Continue to simmer, checking to make sure all chunks of potato are cooked thoroughly. Finally, add about 3/4 of the crisp bacon bits and the shredded cheese. Reserve the rest of the bacon for garnish.
Simmer for another few minutes and serve. Top each serving with a few bits of bacon and slices of green onion.
*I'm serving this with grilled monterrey jack cheese and tomato sandwiches*

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Coming to you from on location...

Here's what I'm looking at right now:

View from the back patio

    Any of you who have been to my house know it is far from perfect. It's tiny and it's on a busy road. Our growing family desperately needs more room, and our eyes are always on the market for something bigger! The one thing I will miss when we move (besides all the wonderful memories we have from living here), will be this view. You can see for miles down the valley, with only one far away house in sight. We love to watch the small airplanes fly overhead to the municipal airport, whose light can be seen circling in the distance, at night. There is plenty of privacy for our little ones and their dogs to play and make as much noise as they want, and for Mommy and Daddy to have late-night bonfires. It seems like every 5 minutes my two-year old is asking me if we can go outside, and we usually do.
    One of my favorite aspects about having this incredible view to enjoy is watching it transform from season to season. Though the leaves are just beginning to change, within a few weeks this same picture from above will look like this:
Red, orange and yellow as far as the eye can see
And a few short weeks after that, it will look like this:
We get to watch the deer in the garden all winter
    Since I became a mother, the years are truly flying by. Everyone always warns you that this will happen, but it's  hard to believe until you experience it first hand. It seems like every time I look out the kitchen window (at this view), it has changed to the next season. Soon, winter will cover us with it's frosty blanket and we will be able to watch the storms roll down the valley, just as we do in the Spring, Summer and Fall. Each season brings its own view, its own gifts. It's so beautiful to see the land slowly peel back the brown layer left behind from months of snow and cold, to reveal the bright greens of Spring that promise new life and new beginnings.

As I get ready to finish our Fall cleaning and to button up the house for the cold months to come, I know in the blink of an eye we will be excited to see the buds on the trees and my two-year old will be asking me if we can go outside. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

An Easy Way to Warm Up On a Rainy Day


  • 3 Carrots, halved and sliced
  • 3 Celery ribs, sliced thinly
  • 1 Medium onion, diced
  • 4 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 15.5 oz. can chick peas, drained
  • 15.25 oz. can black beans, drained
  • 2, 14.5 oz. cans low-sodium chicken broth
  • 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried basil 
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
Makes 6-8 Servings

  1. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker.
  2. Cover. Cook on low, 9-10 hours.
May be served over rice. If you prefer a thicker soup, use only one can of broth, instead.
Garnish with Parsley and some reserved tomato and onion, if you like.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Because I have 2 sons...

I was feeling creative this morning, and decided to construct a baby girl's dress out of some leftover fabric I had laying around. I recently refinished my sewing desk, chair and lamp, and had some beautiful black and white fabric leftover... 
Here are some shots of the sewing desk:

Please excuse the ugly blue carpeting- a project my husband will be tackling this winter (maybe I should tell him?)
Here is the chair:
And, finally, the lamp:
Before- very juvenile, I know!

After- it's hard to see how many beautiful details there are in these two ribbons

SO, anyway, I had these materials leftover and decided to make them into a dress (funny, considering I have two little boys). Here is the dress, it is now listed in my Etsy shop for sale, because I'm pretty sure my husband won't like it if I let our youngest wear it, instead :)
The resulting dress:

If any of you feel so inclined and know a little girl in need of a sweet dress or top, feel free to click here and buy it!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Repurposed Skirt

Last week I wrote about a skirt I loved, and ruined, that I planned to turn into a bag. Well, between chaotic days of flooding, wind, broken tree branches, plus all the usual stuff that comes along with taking care of two little boys all day (+ their dad), I actually got it done. 

If you have a skirt that you love, but can no longer wear, this is a great way to keep it a part of your collection. I started by taking my seam wripper to both sides of the zipper, to remove it. Then I continued down the rest of that seam so the skirt was completely open (I did the same to the lining). I then cut off the waist of the skirt, to expose the top of the pleats, and opened those as well. I saved the zipper and hook and eye closures to use on a different project. At this point I had one gigantic rectangle of fabric. I took the pattern I made and plotted where I wanted the design on the skirt to be positioned on the bag, and pinned and cut all the pieces accordingly. This skirt was made of linen, and I can't even begin to tell you how much pressing it took to smooth the original pleats. I then constructed the bag the same way I do all the others, and ended up with truly beautiful and unique bag. I think I'll keep this one for myself :)
LOVE how this turned out

I added my own pleats, after taking the original ones out of the fabric

This bag is super light weight, yet spacious and strong.

I wore this bag out the other day for the first time and got so many compliments. I am so glad I was able to take a skirt I loved, and missed being able to wear, and gave it a second life.

<3 Domesticated Queen

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fashionable Rainwear

With the recent weather we've been having, and all of its consequences, let's take a moment to look at one of the positive aspects of all this wet weather- fabulous rainwear! Ladies have been finding fashionable ways to stay dry for decades, and I think most of us would love to borrow some of their looks, even today.
Fab 1950's Leopard Swing Raincoat

I love the bell cuffs on this red patent leather one

Super cute, structured coat

Coral is such a cheery color for a rainy day

POLKA DOTS- which I always love + sunshine yellow!

Great vintage Rheingold raincoat ad

Do yourself a favor and go look around your local vintage or goodwill shop to try to find one of these gorgeous glimpses into the past. I was lucky enough to find one a few years ago (mentioned in a previous post as the one I finally mended), and I fully intend to search for another one as soon as I get a chance...
Today would be the perfect rainy day for a new raincoat, but I think I'll stay snuggled inside with my little ones, instead :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Serious Note for the End of Summer

As the long Labor Day weekend is upon us, marking the unofficial end of Summer (boooo), it's time for everyone to take a few minutes to save a life- your own! We have all been spending as much time out in the sun as possible, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who wasn't most the cautious under the rays. This summer actually offered up a lot of beautiful days to enjoy the great outdoors; let's hope memories are the only thing we took from them. 

PLEASE- Take a few minutes to really look at these photos of different types of skin cancer, and make sure none of your "beauty marks" match up. If any of them do, get to a dermatologist STAT!
Learn the ABCD's of Skin Cancer!
Also, pay close attention to any moles that seem to be "evolving"- getting bigger, wider, etc.

These carcinomas are usually found on the most sun-exposed areas of the body (shoulders, neck, chest...)

If you notice similarities to any of these, please do yourself a favor, and CALL A DOCTOR!

It only takes a few minutes, so please check yourself over and encourage your friends and loved ones to do the same! If this post helps save the life of one person, it was well worth the time. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Trending Now

I admit, sometimes when I see the new trends that come out of Fashion Week, I wonder to myself, "What were they thinking? Who would actually want to wear that?" I am happy to report that I am actually in love with some of this fall's trends!!! I can only assume that my fondness for vintage looks can take the credit, as many of the fads are reminiscent of decades past. 
My first fav is polka dots!!! They were all over the runways and have made it to the streets, and they. look. great!

Rust-colored garments also made a big impression, and I am digging the natural, autumn inspired looks.

Pairing a great maxi dress with an uber comfy sweater is a fantastic way to bring some of your summer favs into the fall. Add a belt and your frame is instantly elongated!

LACE! Beautiful, classic, feminine lace. Add it to the black and white combo and I am head over 3" heels in love!!!

Bright pants. Anyone who knew me in high school will not be surprised I am into this. They may recall a pair of magenta pink Esprits I scored while in Munchen, Germany.

Be bold, try something new- embrace one or all of these trends and heat stuff up as it starts to cool down out there  : )

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Got Gas?

   As the title of this post suggests, this isn't going to be a very glamorous entry. I am sharing a photo with all of you that, although not pretty, represents something beautiful- CLEAN ENERGY. Our family has been on a mission this year to make our 45 year-old home more energy efficient. The process began in April, with the installation of Energy Star-rated replacement windows, which have already proven to make a tremendous difference over the summer months. 
   Another aspect that also began last Spring, was our attempt to replace our ancient, ugly, hot, loud oil boiler, with a gas-burning one. I am happy to report that FIVE months after the fact, our local utility company showed up today to hook us up to the natural gas line. This is a huge step in making our home more efficient, and just as importantly, less expensive to heat over the brutal upstate winter months!
(Notice the gigantic oil tank on the left... Bye-bye!)

Fall Rebirth

Spring isn't the only season that can bring fresh, beautiful changes. I am taking the opportunity this autumn to breathe some new life into some old things- clothes, furniture, recipes... the list goes on. 
Some of these projects were are simple as mending garments that have long-awaited the good old needle and thread. In particular, a gorgeous, expensive- had it not been a vintage, thrift find,  pale-yellow,  ****** ***, 3/4 sleeved, rain coat that started to come apart at one of the arm seams. After (and I admit, this is sad) more than a YEAR- not to mention two rainy spring seasons, sitting in my closet, waiting for repair, I finally got it all fixed up a few days ago. It looks great, again, and I am grateful to have it back in rotation :)
Other projects are a bit more complicated, but fun. One I am really excited to see the end product of is a skirt-bag transformation I am currently working on... in between taking care of two youngsters, a husband, a home, two dogs, two hermit crabs and a fish. It was one of my favorite skirts ever, that suffered a mysterious stain that even the dry cleaner couldn't remove. Rather than toss it up to bad luck, I decided to turn it into a beautiful linen hobo-ish style bag. Though I didn't have enough foresight to take a photo of the skirt before I cut it up, I can show you a glimpse of the fabric: 

Finished bag photos to follow...

Have a beautiful day, and as always, don't forget to be the queen of your own realm!